Happy Independence Day! From our poster collection, this reproduction of the Declaration was produced by the Marquette Cement Manufacturing Company to “foster a greater appreciation of the fundamentals of Americanism” in 1925.  A block of text on the back asks the question “Why not celebrate the 4th of July by displaying this facsimile of the Declaration of Independence in your home or place of business.”  

To that we say: way ahead of you, Marquette Cement Manufacturing.

Read Amy Spencer’s latest blog post on Scripta Manent for more.


Staff Pick of the Week

Yikes, insects!!

Max was feeling a little buggy today, so this week he chose not one, not two, but three books for his staff pick:

Friedrich Klug. Entomologiae Brasilianae Specimen. [Bonn: Wolfgang Schwarzkopf, 1821].

Friedrich Klug. Entomologiae Brasilianae Specimen Alterum, Sistens Insectorum Coleopterorum Hondum Descriptorum Centuriam. [Bonn: Wolfgang Schwarzkopf, 1825]. 

JoAnna Poehlmann. The Reunion. [Milwaukee: Poehlmann] 1991.

Klug 1821 includes three hand-colored engraved plates of Brazilian wasps (plates XXII and XXIII); Klug 1825 has five hand-colored engraved plates of jewel beetles (plate XL), blister beetles (plate XLI), and longhorn beetles (plates XLII, XLIII, XLIV). Unfortunately, these lovely etchings were produced on poor-quality paper.

Milwaukee artist JoAnna Poehlmann’s accordion-fold artist’s book is a limited edition of ten copies, and consists of a gathering of beetles executed in different print media:  a hand-colored etching, an embossment with graphite rubbing,  a hand-colored lithograph, and a xerox/collage.The covers, with handmade paper and ribbons by Steve Bruton, are also evocative of an insect. Ever the punster, Poehlmann entitles her piece The Reunion because she has reunited four beetles (get it?).

So, why did Max choose these as his pick of the week? Because they’re bugs! And they’re in color! Duh!!

Florida Man, Accused of Terrorism Based on Book Collection, Set Free

The U.S. government had produced “snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation,” a Florida judge said Friday, ordering the release of Marcus Dwayne Robertson, an Orlando-based Islamic scholar who stood accused of supporting terrorism.

Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” had been incarcerated since 2011 on charges of tax fraud and illegal gun possession. After his arrest and subsequent conviction on those charges, prosecutors sought to add a terrorism enhancement to his sentence, a sentencing guideline modification that would have sent the Islamic scholar to prison for up to 20 years.

Instead, following the judge’s rejection of the enhancement, he was sentenced to time served and ordered released immediately.

Robertson’s case attracted national attention after prosecutors attempted to argue earlier this year that the contents of his book collection constituted evidence of his connection to terrorism. Prosecutors singled out roughly 20 titles from the more than 10,000 e-books Robertson owned, highlighted a selection of controversial passages, and used that to argue that he should be sentenced as though he were a terrorist.

None of Robertson’s charges — conspiracy to file a false tax return and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon — were terrorism offenses.

In a memorandum issued along with his decision yesterday, Judge Gregory A. Presnell strongly repudiated the government’s argument that Robertson’s book collection proved a connection to terrorism. “[T]here was no evidence produced that Robertson ever accessed these particular documents, much less that he took their extremism to heart,” Presnell wrote, noting that even had Robertson read the books in question, it would not have constituted evidence of terrorism.

“The government has never disputed Robertson’s claim of being an Islamic scholar,” the judge continued. “It is not at all remarkable for an Islamic scholar to study, among many, many others, the writings of Islamic extremists.”

The memorandum concluded by describing the sum of the government’s terrorism allegations against Robertson as “woefully inadequate,” adding that the government had “not even come close to proving …. Robertson’s relatively minor income tax fraud was intended to promote a federal crime of terrorism.”

In his closing remarks at Friday’s sentencing hearing, Presnell also stated that he had received “hundreds of emails” in the past few weeks from anti-Muslim activists urging him to impose a harsh sentence on Robertson, an unprecedented experience in his judicial career. Disputing a claim he says was made in many of these emails — that U.S. courts were excessively lenient towards accused Muslim terrorists — Presnell stated that “our courts have actually been quite harsh” in post-9/11 terrorism cases.

“In America, everyone has a right to say and believe what they want, within the bounds of the law,” Presnell said, before instructing that Robertson should be processed and freed from custody by end of day.

Speaking outside the courthouse following the ruling, Robertson’s lawyer Daniel Broderson blasted the government’s tactics in the case. “At no point did the government ever have any actual evidence [Robertson] advocated terrorism, so they attempted to use his library of books as a backhanded way of branding him as a terrorist,” Broderson said. “He spent four years in prison, two years of it in isolation, over a prosecution that was both unfounded and that completely ran afoul of the first amendment.”

Hassan Shibly, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations who had advocated on behalf of Robertson and met with him in prison, cited the judge’s ruling as a rare positive legal precedent in post-9/11 terrorism prosecutions. “This is a huge blow to the FBI’s attempts to criminalize first amendment protected activity and maliciously entrap and prosecute American Muslims,” Shibly said. “We repeatedly warned the U.S. Attorney’s office that their charges were baseless and would be thrown out by any fair judge. We were proven right, and they should frankly be ashamed of themselves today.”

Robertson’s case began in 2011 after Jonathan Jimenez, a young acquaintance of Robertson’s from New York, came to stay with him and his family in Orlando. Jimenez, who had been struggling with drug problems and mental illness, had been invited to stay at Robertson’s home in an effort to help him straighten out his personal problems and further his religious studies. While staying with Robertson, Jimenez was also separately befriended by an undercover government informant, to whom he began making statements suggesting that Robertson had been grooming him to go abroad and conduct violent jihad.

Jimenez’s statements, which he later recanted to authorities, were the only evidence besides Robertson’s book collection that the prosecution produced in its effort to tie him to terrorism. Jimenez is presently serving a 10-year prison sentence for making false statements to federal officials.

Robertson’s case had also been clouded by allegations that he had worked abroad in the past as a covert operative on behalf U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, a claim the government at least partially confirmed. On April 30, a closed hearing was held to review details of Robertson’s alleged cooperation.

Speaking to The Intercept after his release, Robertson alleged that the government had attempted to use his case to establish a precedent for equating ordinary Muslim practices and scholarship with terrorism. “They’re trying to find an indirect way to sentence people with non-terrorism charges as though they’d committed terrorism offenses, without having to provide the preponderance of evidence that is normally required in such cases,” he said. “You own a few books and some guy tells an informant you said something, and suddenly that is legal basis enough to sentence you to prison for decades.”

Robertson, who was held in solitary confinement for several years of his imprisonment, says that while he is happy to be free from prison and reunited with his family, his case was handled unjustly and maliciously prosecuted by the government.

“I lost all those years, in jail, in terrible conditions, away from my family,” he said. “After all that, they couldn’t produce one single statement from me that supported terrorism.”



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Stupid Tax Laws, Stupid Gun Laws, Stupid Terrorist Laws Threatened Non-Violent Florida Man With 20 Years in Jail
Feds wanted to tack 20 years onto the sentence on tax and gun charges of an Islamic scholar for the books in his library.

An Islamic scholar from Florida named Marcus Robertson was charged and convicted of tax fraud and possession of a gun by a convicted felon and sent to jail in 2011. Since then, the federal government has sought a “terrorism sentence enhancement” that would keep Robertson in jail for 20 years for the crimes of not giving the government all the money the government demanded from him, and seeking to exercise his Second Amendment right after previously having been convicted of a felony—crimes that, at their heart, are non-violent.

Where did the attempted terrorism enhancement come from? The books Robertson was reading. The Intercept reports:

Robertson’s case attracted national attention after prosecutors attempted to argue earlier this year that the contents of his book collection constituted evidence of his connection to terrorism. Prosecutors singled out roughly 20 titles from the more than 10,000 e-books Robertson owned, highlighted a selection of controversial passages, and used that to argue that he should be sentenced as though he were a terrorist.

None of Robertson’s charges — conspiracy to file a false tax return and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon — were terrorism offenses.

Thankfully, this particular federal judge had some sense, and pointed out the federal government hadn’t produced any evidence Robertson actually read the controversial passages, and that even if he had, it would not be unusual for a scholar to have among his read works, extremist material. I would go one further—even if you’re not a scholar in a country that says you have a right to free speech and to be secure in your persons, properties, and papers, that what you read and why is none of the government’s business and certainly no crime, no matter what it is.

POL note: Recall how many people want to try Dylan Roof as a terrorist. This case of Marcus Robertson, a man who did nothing wrong, is a perfect example of what happens when we view every crime (per-meditated murder in Roof’s case) through the lens of the War on Terror.

They wanted to call him a terrorist because of the books he read.

i was tagged by two ppl! cuties dcathspells and brianmolko69!

name: jewell/joel 

time and date: july 3rd 7:09 am
average hours of sleep: about 4
last thing you googled: how to remove nail polish from carpet 
birthday: october 11th

gender: nb B)
sexual orientation: pansexual 

favorite color: black, purple, pink, blue, silver
one place that makes me happy: my room 
last book i read: collection of edgar allan poe’s poems
most used phrase: idk & gotta do what you gotta do 
last thing i said to a family member: okay stop

favorite beverage: coffee & cream soda

favorite food: ribs

last movie i watched: aliens in the attic

dream vacation: idk

dream wedding: ???? 
dream pets: pigs! cows! skunks! dogs! cats! 
dream job: something to do w/ art

i tag thelalalander kidsontheboardwalk alienvasions communistgothparty

thank you sm for tagging me!!

I’m very happy with this. I kinda don’t want the movies up there. I like the idea of just books but for right now that’s where they’ll go cause I have no where else to put them and they’re frequently watched. I’m expanding the kid’s book collection. They have a ton of really good titles. I just want a couple more that I loved as a child. I’m hoping to run into them at a thrift shop or something. Anyways, yaaay it’s cute.


Guest photos tonight from friend of Infavisions Erik Highter’s childhood D&D collection. Look at those colors. Look at them! Erik was, in his words, a “comics obsessive” in those days, and that influence comes through strongly here. Brilliant stuff.

If you have colored-in gaming books, whether your own handiwork or found in books you’ve collected, and would like to share, please feel free to drop me a line or tag Infravisions in your post.

Bill Willingham
B2: Keep on the Borderlands

Wizard Eye
Jeff Dee

Frost & Flame Salamanders
Erol Otus

Magic-User, Elf & Dwarf
Bill Willingham
Dungeons & Dragons: Expert Rulebook (1981)

Lizard Man caught by Web
Jeff Dee

Dwarf, Cleric, Elf, Halfling, Fighter, Thief
David S. LaForce

Adventurers battle a red dragon
Bill Willingham
Dungeons & Dragons: Basic Rulebook (1981)

Colored and photographed by Erik Highter. Posted with permission.